Tag Archives: Feeling of Form

“A little piece of Art”

IMG_4174CHEKHOV TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE IRELAND SUMMER SCHOOL

“A little piece of Art”
Finding a sense of form in the character, the piece or the play through the Michael Chekhov Technique.
NUIG Galway
August 16-19th 10 – 5.  Tutor Max Hafler
For Actors, Students, and Directors .

Michael Chekhov said that everything you did onstage, every exercise, every improvisation, every scene, every play needed a ‘feeling of Form’ and a “feeling of Entirety”. Each piece had to be “a little piece of Art”. We are going to explore these two fundamental planks of Chekhov Technique to enable us to create more believable and focussed characters and performances using the psycho-physical technique which through the imagination and the body takes us to new realms.

Getting the whole understanding of form in our bodies is crucial. How do you start a scene? What are the dynamics? And how does the scene end? And what happens in between? Working with tableaux, gesture and transformation, we will work with a yet to be decided text. This technique will give a strong grid on which to work, yet at the same time give you as a performer/director an immense freedom. It is both completely practical and helps the performer to express the invisible.

It is going to be exciting.

some thoughts

Of course these ideas  of Form and Entirety are not new in consideration of art but they are too often dismissed or ignored by practitioners as outmoded or outdated, that they make smug or complacent art, as if life could be tied in those kind of parcels. I would question whether theatre has the slightest responsibility to imitate life in quite that kind of way, even if this was true.

Form and Entirety [or wholeness] are related of course but are not quite the same thing. I would say that Feeling of Form is something the performer practises that becomes an inate performance skill  whereas a Feeling of Wholeness is a state that is discovered both as a character and also through the experience of the whole play.

We have to accept that Form and Wholeness are woven into our lives. The two things we know for sure are that we are born and we die; a beginning and an end. Because we understand this on a fundamental visceral level, it is not surprising to me that we often look for this quality in art. The end we seek in our plays and films is not necessarily a comfortable easy end; nor is it always an attempt to just have our own values expressed and validated. Remember, if you look at a play or film with an ending which appears inconclusive, the creators have decided that ending for a reason.  It is still an ending.

In my real life experience, endings are beginnings with new challenges and obstacles and pleasures. At least they are changes – the start of a new consideration, some new way of being. The end is a stopping and pausing point. however, in a work of art it offers a deep satisfaction because it is a pinnacle, a place for the characters to rest and take stock before they move on. In a fictional narrative, it leaves us with a feeling, a question and a resolution all rolled into one – if it is powerful that is.

So, in addition to needing a ‘Feeling of Entirety’ for the whole piece of art, we have a feeling of form for the character. What about the beginning, the start of the character’s journey? What are the energies and desires he brings into the space and how does he seek them?  Chekhov always talks about How and what  being the most fundamental questions which lead to the answer of Why someone does something.

When working on entrances and exits in another workshop, we observed that the moment you entered was one of your moments of ultimate power. The audience are intrigued by a new energy, by a feeling that the arrival of this person is going to change things, alter the dynamic. Finding a starting point through psycho-physical exercises is a nuanced and exciting exploration. Finding the end point gives you somewhere to go.

booking details

If you are interested to book for this course , please contact chekhovtrainperformireland@gmail.com. the cost of the course is €180 for tuition only

 

 

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“A little piece of Art”

IMG_4174CHEKHOV TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE IRELAND SUMMER SCHOOL

“A little piece of Art”
Finding a sense of form in the character, the piece or the play through the Michael Chekhov Technique.
NUIG Galway
August 16-19th 10 – 5.  Tutor Max Hafler
For Actors, Students, and Directors .

Michael Chekhov said that everything you did onstage, every exercise, every improvisation, every scene, every play needed a ‘feeling of Form’ and a “feeling of Entirety”. Each piece had to be “a little piece of Art”. We are going to explore these two fundamental planks of Chekhov Technique to enable us to create more believable and focussed characters and performances using the psycho-physical technique which through the imagination and the body takes us to new realms.

Getting the whole understanding of form in our bodies is crucial. How do you start a scene? What are the dynamics? And how does the scene end? And what happens in between? Working with tableaux, gesture and transformation, we will work with a yet to be decided text. This technique will give a strong grid on which to work, yet at the same time give you as a performer/director an immense freedom. It is both completely practical and helps the performer to express the invisible.

It is going to be exciting.

some thoughts

Of course these ideas  of Form and Entirety are not new in consideration of art but they are too often dismissed or ignored by practitioners as outmoded or outdated, that they make smug or complacent art, as if life could be tied in those kind of parcels. I would question whether theatre has the slightest responsibility to imitate life in quite that kind of way, even if this was true.

Form and Entirety [or wholeness] are related of course but are not quite the same thing. I would say that Feeling of Form is something the performer practises that becomes an inate performance skill  whereas a Feeling of Wholeness is a state that is discovered both as a character and also through the experience of the whole play.

We have to accept that Form and Wholeness are woven into our lives. The two things we know for sure are that we are born and we die; a beginning and an end. Because we understand this on a fundamental visceral level, it is not surprising to me that we often look for this quality in art. The end we seek in our plays and films is not necessarily a comfortable easy end; nor is it always an attempt to just have our own values expressed and validated. Remember, if you look at a play or film with an ending which appears inconclusive, the creators have decided that ending for a reason.  It is still an ending.

In my real life experience, endings are beginnings with new challenges and obstacles and pleasures. At least they are changes – the start of a new consideration, some new way of being. The end is a stopping and pausing point. however, in a work of art it offers a deep satisfaction because it is a pinnacle, a place for the characters to rest and take stock before they move on. In a fictional narrative, it leaves us with a feeling, a question and a resolution all rolled into one – if it is powerful that is.

So, in addition to needing a ‘Feeling of Entirety’ for the whole piece of art, we have a feeling of form for the character. What about the beginning, the start of the character’s journey? What are the energies and desires he brings into the space and how does he seek them?  Chekhov always talks about How and what  being the most fundamental questions which lead to the answer of Why someone does something.

When working on entrances and exits in another workshop, we observed that the moment you entered was one of your moments of ultimate power. The audience are intrigued by a new energy, by a feeling that the arrival of this person is going to change things, alter the dynamic. Finding a starting point through psycho-physical exercises is a nuanced and exciting exploration. Finding the end point gives you somewhere to go.

booking details

If you are interested to book for this course , please contact chekhovtrainperformireland@gmail.com. the cost of the course is €180 for tuition only

 

 

Feeling of Form- Gardening, Chekhov Technique, Theatre and everything .

It’s autumn. Beautiful autumn. And whilst cutting back some brambles in my garden, I found a serene space between two larches and a dwarf cedar of lebanon, dwarfed because it has been overgrown by the larches. Behind me stood a brand new elder which looks like its branches had spurted from the dry stone wall, and beside it ,a small stone cairn. Moving between the trees, I found myself moving into what felt like a private chapel of green. It was a beautiful definite form, which had not existed in quite this way before, with a strong, particular atmosphere. It had had a form before, before the trees had grown so much, but it was different, less harmonious. If our life is about constant movement and growth this transformation was about the movement between one form and the next.

‘All art aspires to the condition of music.’ I have this quote from Walter Pater on the signature of my email address. I had never read this quote until I saw it in On the Technique of Acting by Michael Chekhov. One of the most defining things about music, especially most classical music, is its feeling of form. It is not the only thing which leaves me with a deep feeling of satisfaction and joy when I listen to classical music, but the feeling of form which Chekhov ( and many others,) considered so important, is definitely a large component in my emotional response. Having a form is not of course necessarily having a realistic narrative but it is the connection of themes and motifs which progress on some kind of path and take us to some kind of conclusion.

‘What is the point of a play which doesn’t have a beginning middle and end,’ said a feisty participant at one of my classes the other day. She had challenged some self satisfied successful professional performer of a play she had seen. She had heard him say that form was not valued any more and plays did not need it. This idea that form is irrelevant is not new, ( even though people say it as if it was invented in the last ten years). It was a big tenet of much experimental theatre in the 60s and 70s.

I would ask the question, what is the point of being formless? As soon as you create formlessness you are creating a form – a formless form if you like. I am chuckling at the thought…. A formless form is a form with no power. This does not mean you cannot be open-ended in a piece of theatre or film, but you are open-ended for a reason. You are choosing to leave the story at that point. But being formless for the sake of it is like being in the wilderness, lost and aimless, self indulgent, and arrogant. Is this what art is, to move us into a desolate space, for no purpose whatsoever? With a lack of form, no one comes to any conclusions, or even hints at them. That would be proselytising. It strikes me as sad that the artist is not permitted to have an opinion.

Those of us who are old enough might remember when pop songs faded and dribbled into the background leaving the sad looking young musicians on Top of the Pops looking as if someone had stolen their voices, like electric toys. There was no ending, just a slow meaningless fade.

As I move to work with my Ensemble and Devising students on Form next week, I look forward to helping the students to awaken this feeling of form, a thing of beauty and great theatrical power, as surely as the space created by the trees in my garden. It gives audience and artist a sense of fulfilment which assists our understanding of the world and our place in it. Form need not be cosy, like a Disney fairy tale. It can be brutal and real as often as it can be positive and delightful .